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Pupusa is a tortilla made of corn flour (masa) stuffed with various things like cheese, pork, and beans. The pupusa is stuffed while forming the tortilla. It is a culinary artform, and not everyone can make them. It takes skill and practice to be able to make them. They are so good!
  Masa harina 2 Cup (32 tbs)
  Warm water 1 Cup (16 tbs)

Basic Steps: Mix → Knead → Rest → Portion → Roll → Pan-bake
In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time, if needed to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest 5-10 minutes.
Roll dough into a log and cut into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Press a hole in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of desired filling into each ball and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc. Be careful that the filling doesn't spill out.
Line a tortilla press with plastic and press out each ball to about 5-6" wide and about 1/4" thick. If you don't have a tortilla press, place the dough between plastic wrap and roll it out with a rolling pin.
Heat an ungreased skillet over high heat. Cook each pupusa for about 1-2 minutes on each side till lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and cover till all pupusas are done. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.
Pupusas can be made plain or filled with any number of ingredients. Following are some of the most popular.
Pupusas de Queso: With a cheese filling. Use grated quesillo, queso fresco, farmer's cheese, mozzarella, Swiss cheese or a combination. Add some minced green chile if you like.
Pupusas de Chicharrones: With a filling of fried chopped pork and a little tomato sauce. A reasonable facsimile can be made by grinding 1 cup of cooked bacon with a little bit of tomato sauce in a food processor.
Pupusas de Frijoles Refritos: With a refried bean filling.
Pupusas Revueltas: Use a mixture of chicharrones, cheese and refried beans.
Pupusas de Queso y Loroco: With a cheese and tropical vine flower filling. Loroco can be found in jars at many Latin markets.
Pupusas de Arroz: A variety of pupusa that uses rice flour instead of corn masa.
Cooked potatoes or finely minced, sautéed jalapeño peppers are also tasty fillings. Try a mixture of different fillings.
The above recipe uses masa harina, a special dried cornmeal flour used in making tortillas, tamales, etc. If you are able to get fresh masa, definitely use it instead. The flavor will be much fresher. Just substitute the masa harina and water with fresh masa. One pound will make about 4-6 pupusas depending on size.
Pupusas are similar to corn tortillas, only thicker and often stuffed with cheese, beans or meat. The pupusa originated in El Salvador, but it is also popular in neighboring Honduras. They can also be found in large U.S. cities, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, that sizeable Salvadoran immigrant populations. Salvadoran restaurants that serve pupusas are called pupuserías.
So fundamental is this simple corn masa bread to the cuisine of El Salvador that the country has gone so far as to declare November 13th "National Pupusa Day."
Curtido, a type of coleslaw, is typically served with pupusas, along with a simple tomato sauce (salsa roja).
Pupusas are traditionally made by slapping the dough from palm to palm to flatten it out. I find the tortilla press to be quicker and easier for beginners.

Recipe Summary

Side Dish
Preparation Time: 
10 Minutes
Cook Time: 
8 Minutes
Ready In: 
18 Minutes
Pupusas were first cooked and eaten by the Pipil tribes which dwelled in the territory which is now known as El Salvador. A popular variant of the pupusa in El Salvador is the pupusa de arroz. Rice flour is used to make the masa, as the name indicates, and they are usually stuffed only with chicharron ( chopped pork) and cheese. They hail from the town of Olocuilta, located to the east of San Salvador, but are now readily available throughout the country. Pupusas made in the United States are typically made with Maseca (brand name of a popular commercial corn flour-masa mix) instead of fresh masa harina. Some high-end pupuserías in the United States use rice flour and make low-carbohydrate versions with wheat flour. A Mexican dish that is similar to the pupusa is called a gordita (literally, "the little fat one"), but gorditas are usually open at one end. In Venezuela they make arepas (where the dough is cooked first, and then sliced in half and stuffed somewhat like a hamburger). Colombia has its own recipe of arepas, but, unlike Venezuelan, Colombian arepas, are usually eaten without filling, or the filling is placed inside the dough before cooking. Pupusas are also found in neighboring Central American countries. Honduran pupusas often use the local quesillo type of cheese for the filling. In Costa Rica the pupusa variant consists on two fried tortillas with white cheese between them.
El Salvadoran thick tortillas

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Nutrition Rank

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 294 Calories from Fat 29

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 4 g5.7%

Saturated Fat 0 g

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 6 mg0.3%

Total Carbohydrates 63 g20.9%

Dietary Fiber 3.7 g14.7%

Sugars 0 g

Protein 7 g14.7%

Vitamin A Vitamin C

Calcium 37.2% Iron 20.4%

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet


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Pupusas Recipe, El Salvadoran Thick Tortillas